Blog Posts by Christina Baldwin

Talking with strangers

I was raised by two gregarious parents who felt entirely comfortable engaging total strangers in conversation, thereby changing them from strangers into acquaintances, and sometimes, into friends. I have no particular memory of this as a child, no moments of great embarrassment, no squirming in agony wishing they would just “come on…” I assume this social pattern was deeply engrained in my childhood into a sense of normalcy, because I am often in the company ...
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A tango of methodologies

We have a handout we often use when introducing Circle to new folks: it shows a tree whose roots are marked “Circle” and whose branches illustrate the modern adaptations of this ancient social form. We are more and more making sure in our training and consulting work that we introduce people to several of these circle-based methodologies, and we speak with excitement and hope about the uprising of “a global culture of conversation.” In our ...
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Rest Stop

Grey winter’s day, driving down the Interstate between Seattle and Portland, on our way to a consulting job. Temperature hanging in the low-40’s F, (about 6-7 Centigrade), yet a high sky, so we were catching glimpses of big mountains running along the eastern horizon. After a few hours driving and a latte, we needed a stop near Vancouver, WA at the Columbia River Rest Stop. Pulled off the road into the parking area. A young ...
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A little love goes a long way

My friend Harriet is 86 the end of this month. She’s a member of a group of women friends who support one another’s spiritual journeys, stay in various levels of connection during busy schedules, and meet once a year for a week of council, informal conversation, great eating, hiking, and late night videos. We are women at camp in a large shared house, reflecting on where we’ve been and setting intention for the coming months ...
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Wintergreen: New Year’s Day on Whidbey Island

I have a friend who tells me, “What you do on your birthday sets the tone for the year.” It’s not my personal birthday, but it is the first day of a New Year… so happy birthday 2013… and here’s the tone of what I did today. I woke and wrote in my journal—thinking deeply about the many events and adventures planned for the next 6 months, sort of a Solstice-to-Solstice awareness. I prayed for ...
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Angel in the woods

The day was gloomy and these woods in particular, standing on the north side of the hill, do not get sun in winter and were muted into half-light. The trees grow tall or snake through one another, reaching for light. Winds blow off Puget Sound and all those that stand are strong trunked. We—my beloved and I and our perky paced corgi—are making our way through this loveliness—polished green shine of salal bushes, the last ...
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Rebirth of the Village

Upon our arrival in New York on November 1, our friend Nancy Fritsche Eagan, a circle and Art of Hosting colleague, took us over to visit Occupy Wall Street. It was a stunning experience, particularly from a group process perspective. Zucotti Park, now dubbed Liberty Park, was doing its best to operate as a self-organizing “village.” It was a tent city, one block long, 100 feet wide, with council-based governance, a multi-faith chapel (Sikhs were ...
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The wisdom we need is in the room!

I wake at 4:30 AM from a dream in which a film crew is taking down the Europe “set”— dismantling canvas facades of the streets of Brussels, Paris, Frankfurt, and Amsterdam, carefully putting the architecture into storage. Ann and I have just come home from three weeks teaching circle practice within the European Commission, the Art of Hosting and community leadership groups, and German consultant network. The dream seems to be my mind’s way of ...
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Ecology & Travel: Thoughts from the Beach

A week after the earthquake and tsunami, in the midst of the nuclear crisis at Fukushima power plant, we left for vacation, an exotic trip funded almost a year earlier by a little financial windfall. As it came time to pack we were still glued to video images of destruction nearly beyond comprehension and the possibility of nuclear meltdown hung in precarious balance. We found it decidedly difficult to pull out of the story and ...
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Question of the week: What Just Happened Here?

Japan. We watch the ordinary present disappear in moments.  Whole towns become archeological digs--not pretty, not yet historical. Real people wandering through real-time chaos, horror and displacement. Earthquake. Tsunami. Radiation. The character of a people is shown to the world through the words and images streaming out of Japan. I bow a bow of deep respect. We are being given many lessons here--the world watching itself learning something. And this evening comes this email--from someone ...
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